10 Conversations to Have With Your Partner Before Baby Arrives
Becoming parents is one of the most beautiful and life-changing experiences you and your partner will go through together…and it deserves some real talk about topics both big and small. So, as the weeks tick by and Baby gets bigger and bigger, seriously consider delving into each of the below topics, bit by bit. That way, by the time your little one arrives on the scene, you both know where you stand on this whole we’re-going-to-be-parents thing.
Before-Baby Conversation #1: Postpartum Care for Mom & Baby
No matter if you deliver vaginally or via c-section, recovery from childbirth can be…challenging. Besides hormone fluctuations that can bring mood swings and tears, there’s the sheer exhaustion of it all and the physical discomfort of having just birthed a baby. Together with your partner, research and learn what you might expect in terms of your needs after birth…and how your partner can support and help you. At the same time, how will you go about tackling everyday musts like meal prep (should you start doing freezer meals now?) and laundry? Equally important, you both should discuss how you’ll approach newborn baby care: Would you like to sleep in shifts? Should you consider hiring a night nurse or a postpartum doula? How will diaper duty play out?
Before-Baby Conversation #2: Division of Labor Once Baby Arrives
After the harried first several weeks of new parenthood, a sense of routine will likely kick in when it comes to who-does-what-when. Instead of leaving it up to fate—and an assumption of gender roles—it’s important to hammer out how the housework and baby work will be divided. It’s far easier to come up with a plan while you’re still pregnant than trying to hash it all out when you’re tired and knee-deep in newborn needs. And talking about all of this early allows for you both to start divvying up—and getting accustomed—to certain new tasks sooner rather than later.
Before-Baby Conversation #3: Childcare
If both parents work outside the home, childcare needs to be discussed. And that discussion goes beyond figuring out if you’ll go to the nanny, daycare, stay-at-home, or family-help route. It starts with: How long will each of you be home on parental leave? Can and should you stagger your leave to maximize time home with your baby—or is home together best? Next, it’s important to determine your childcare budget and if that budget meshes with your childcare wishlist. Do you have any childcare deal breakers? Do you know when folks in your area normally start interviewing or touring potential childcare options? Do you know the local waitlist details? Finally, don’t underestimate the power of proximity. After a long workday, neither parent wants an out-of-the-way drive to pick up their baby. Make sure whatever childcare options you discuss are convenient for both of you.
Before-Baby Conversation #4: Finances, Budget, and Logistics
Landing on a budget for putting together the ideal nursery or picking the perfect bassinet is one thing. Getting your numbers aligned for when you become parents, however, is a whole new ball of wax. Before Baby arrives is the ideal time to discuss some key baselines: Do you have life insurance to cover your family if something unexpected occurs? Do you have enough money stashed in savings to cover your family if there’s an emergency, like a layoff? Do you have a revised monthly budget that now includes baby needs, like diapers, wipes, childcare, and more? When you’re pregnant with a laundry list of things to do, these not-fun money conversations can feel overwhelming, but starting to acknowledge these points now allows you and your partner to start budgeting for the changes heading your way.
Before-Baby Conversation #5: Parenting Style
There’s no need to label your would-be parenting style as attachment, free-range, strict, gentle, or anything in between, but it is important to discuss how you want to be as parents. Together, try reflecting on your own childhoods and what you think your parents got right…and what they got wrong. What have you learned from that experience? How does it feed your desire to parent today? How do you each view topics like discipline, screen time, socialization, and more? And as you delve into these talks, know that it’s 100% okay if you and your partner have different parenting styles. Your parenting style doesn’t have to be exactly same, but they should compliment each other...not work against each other.
Before-Baby Conversation #6: Personal Time
Parent burnout is real and it’s guaranteed to strike both of you. Acknowledging that this will happen before it does is a great start. Even better? Discussing how you can schedule breaks without guilt. If one of you is a gym-lover, for instance, think about how to keep that going post-baby in a way that allows you your time without over-burdening your partner. Do you have an every-other-Sunday brunch planned with friends? Take steps to ensure it remains on the calendar. No matter how each of you prefers to practice self-care, it’s super-important to assign specific days or times to it, to ensure it happens. Every parent deserves at least a few hours of child-free time a week—that doesn’t involve going to work!
Before-Baby Conversation #7: Religion & Lifestyle Choices
There’s a good chance you and your partner’s values are similar in a lot of ways, but couples don’t always see exactly eye-to-eye on religious and spiritual matters, or even certain lifestyle choices, like being a vegan or vegetarian. It’s a good idea to “go there” with your partner now versus later…especially with religion. Rituals like a baptism and a bris happen early, so both parents need to be comfortable and prepared for how they’ll be handled. (And, while a bris is entirely religious, circumcision is not, so be sure to have that discussion early, too.)
Before-Baby Conversation #8: Preserving Your Adult Relationship
In the midst of all this baby talk, it can be hard to remember that you were a couple first! So, before your little one bursts onto the scene and turns date nights into up-all-nights, have a heart-to-heart about keeping your relationship a top priority. Together ask yourselves: How will we make time for each other after Baby? What’s our plan for date nights once we become parents? What just-the-two-of-us rituals do we enjoy now that we really want to maintain? You can even brainstorm little ways to help each other feel loved when you’re in the thick of new parenthood, like starting a sweet Post-It note habit or making sure to send a loving text message each day. And don’t forget about sex after baby. Talk now about expectations, fears, changes, and how you’ll approach intimacy again. Keeping the dialog open and loving will only help.
Before-Baby Conversation #9: Baby Feeding
If you’re scratching your head over this one, know that even if you are planning on nursing your baby, feeding a baby is a group effort! Breastfeeding moms need a partner who supports them. Formula feeding moms need a partner who supports them. Moms who are unable to feed their baby in the manner they initially wanted…they need support, too. Discussing your wishes with your partner and talking about specific ways in which they can help—and participate—is important. Ask questions like: How can I include my partner in feeding the baby if I’m exclusively breastfeeding? How should we handle night-feeds…especially when we’re both returning to work? Also, if breastfeeding is in the cards, consider visiting a lactation specialist together before Baby’s arrival for more advice.
Before-Baby Conversation #10: Visitors & In-Laws
Get ready for a virtual parade of people wanting to visit your new little bundle! But before you’re faced with unexpected knocks at the door or in-laws sharing their flight info, you and your partner need to discuss your expectations, your loved one’s expectations, and boundaries. This is definitely a time you do not want to work on assumptions! After you both figure out what’s best for you, relay the info to all affected parties before Baby arrives. That way, no one is dealing with, say, an in-law or a parent who thinks they’ll be in the delivery room or staying with you the first week after baby, when that’s not at all what you want.
Another before-baby must-have convo? Selecting a name! We’ve got all the help you need with our Abby to Zachary guide to all the baby names!
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.